Finland Takes Olympic Chill To The Next Level: Team Knitting

By Laurel Wamsley

Finnish snowboard coach Antti Koskinen, who knits during competition, has become an Olympic folk hero.

Screengrab by NPR/NBC

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Screengrab by NPR/NBC

Finland has a tendency to beguile. Saunas are so important that both the president and prime minister keep official ones. The country has the most heavy metal bands per capita. It’s experimenting with a basic income. Its language has no future tense.

And in an unexpected moment during the weekend’s Olympic slopestyle competition, the Nordic nation showed off another delightful quality: a passion for knitting.

In a video on NBC’s website, snowboarding coach Antti Koskinen is seen nonchalantly knitting at the top of the course while Finnish snowboarder Roope Tonteri gets ready to ride.

Koskinen glances up from his project (something involving black yarn), passes the needles to one hand, and fist-bumps Tonteri. Then he goes back to knitting.

People watching at home went wild for the contented crafter, and the feverish screen-grabbing began.

“The Finnish coach is KNITTING at the top of the slopestyle course. Someone please find out what this man is making!!!” tweeted one Canadian fan.

the finnish coach is knitting ahhakgjahk noora i love finland

— fate will find a way (@jinusbitches) February 10, 2018

The coach is just low key knitting while his athlete is getting ready to go 😂😂

— Grace Dafoe (@gracedafoe) February 10, 2018

Finland’s Olympic team was quick to demonstrate that the love for knitting is not limited to Koskinen: It posted photos of its team hanging out in sock feet, working on a blanket for its president’s newborn son. (The project has become something of a tradition: at Sochi, the team worked to knit a giant scarf.)

We are #knitting again 😀 In Sochi we made a huge scarf, this time we are knitting a blanket for our presidential couple’s newborn son. 💙🇫🇮

— Olympic Team Finland (@OlympicTeamFI) February 12, 2018

“This is lovely,” replied one Canadian fan. “Will we get to see the blanket when it’s completed?”

“Of course!” the team answered, adding a little blue heart and the Finnish flag.

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